WASHINGTON — The Donald Trump administration conducted a preliminary internal assessment of its Iran “maximum pressure” policy this month and determined that it is not working, according to a new report. Such an assessment could drive administration efforts to try to provoke Iran to leave the nuclear deal, possibly by urging a potential inspections crisis at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), some experts said.
“So far, there is little evidence that the administration is meeting any of its possible goals,” the International Crisis Group writes in the new report, “On Thin Ice,” on the third anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal.
“A preliminary internal assessment by the administration described to Crisis Group purportedly concludes that the U.S. approach has yet to curb Iran’s behaviour or entice Tehran back to the negotiating table,” the ICG report says, citing in a footnote an interview conducted by the group with a senior US administration official this month.
A National Security Council spokesman, asked about the reported US assessment, declined to comment on internal deliberations. The State Department neither confirmed or denied the purported assessment. A department official, speaking not for attribution, told Al-Monitor, “The Trump administration’s withdrawal from the disastrous Iran deal, the reimposition of tough sanctions and the ongoing maximum pressure campaign have successfully deprived the Iranian regime of millions of barrels and billions of dollars in oil revenue to fuel its terrorist activities.” The official added, “The courageous and growing protests by the Iranian people objecting to the regime’s human rights abuses, corruption and economic mismanagement speak for themselves.”